POTENTIAL ADOPTION OF THE BEST AVAILABLE PILOT SOLUTIONS IN THE HORTICULTURAL FARMING SECTOR

IFAPA leads the study of the potential adoption of the innovative alternatives tested in REINWASTE project. The main results obtained for the horticultural primary sector are presented in this article. There is a high willingness of farmers to implement innovative solutions that may minimize or avoid the generation of inorganic waste.

Adoption is the process by which producers decide to incorporate into their production systems new techniques that have been generated and developed by certain R&D entities. In general, there is a direct relationship between the adoption of new technologies or products and the economic, technical and environmental benefits derived from their use. In this sense, when the farmer or producer does not consider that these advantages exist in the products or technologies offered to him, he simply decides not to adopt them. On the other hand, it is important to remember that the non-adoption of innovation by the producer may be due to exogenous factors such as the availability in the supply, the high cost of alternative materials, the lack of sustainable alternatives, lack of its knowledge by farmers and companies, etc.
In this context, IFAPA, in collaboration with AGAPA, have undertaken a detailed study for obtaining the necessary information to analyze the potential adoption of the alternatives tested in the context of REINWASTE project performed by the horticultural primary sector (Image 1). To overcome with this task, a survey to six experts from of different profiles was carried out. Thus, the results of this study are based on the 'expertise' and 'background' that the respondents have on the sector and on the innovative solutions that can reduce or minimize inorganic waste. Concretely, the survey has addressed the following issues:

- Level of concern and knowledge of the sector about the problems of inorganic waste and alternative market solutions.
- Level of knowledge of the alternatives tested in the pilots of the REINWASTE project in the horticultural production sector.
- Potential for adoption of the alternatives tested in REINWASTE.
- Limiting factors in the adoption of innovations in the horticultural sector.
- Promoting factors for the adoption of innovations in the horticultural sector.
- Strategies to promote the adoption of the tested pilot alternatives.

It is also necessary to point out that the five tested pilots in the horticultural primary sector have been:

1. Use of alternative materials for plant staking raffia.
2. Use of alternative materials for plastic mulching.
3. Energetic valorization of difficult‐to‐manage waste.
4. Application of documentary traceability to waste management.
5. Comparison of different associative waste management models

Finally, some of the main conclusions extracted from the results of this interesting study are exposed hereby below:

- The knowledge and concern of the horticultural production sector about the problems associated with inorganic waste is medium-high.
- The knowledge of the production sector about the alternatives tested in the REINWASTE project is more heterogeneous:
- The alternatives for raffia obtained a medium-high level of knowledge.
- The energetic valorization options for inorganic waste, as well as the associative management models, are slightly known by the sector (medium-low punctuation).
- The knowledge of the physical document traceability system is very well known, as opposed to the document traceability system using software (low knowledge).
- The potential adoption of all the alternatives tested by REINWASTE is medium-high, so there is a high willingness to implement innovative solutions in this sector that may minimize or avoid the generation of waste.
- The adoption of innovation initiatives in the horticultural production sector has several limiting factors of considerable importance. The most important are the high costs and the lack of alternative materials to those conventionally utilized. Moreover, the sector perceives that the alternative raffia and plastic mulch currently available on the market do not offer the necessary technical characteristics. In this sense, and related to the two previous ones, the lack of research areas in the production areas is also perceived as a limiting factor for the adoption of innovation. Policies and the design of socioeconomic strategies must therefore be aimed at reducing, minimizing or eliminating this type of limiting factors.
- The main social, technical and economic factors promoting the adoption of innovation are:
- The high social awareness of the problem of inorganic waste in the horticultural sector.
- Significant improvements in terms of more environmentally friendly fencing elements and mulching plastics
- Associationism as a factor promoting innovation to achieve scale economy and therefore to reduce costs.
- The willingness of producers to make technological and waste management improvements.

Further information can be consulted in the detailed study from the following link:
drive.google.com/drive/folders/1RrACnBGBGUkkrSIzrTwcY6WuRfRqFPgA